Our heartfelt thanks to all of you who have been so generous with your support and love. You really know how to come through with top-grade empathy. Try to imagine how grateful I am. Without your presence, I would have had to go through this ordeal unattended. And this is the first such I’ve been through – and please lord may it be the last, may we enjoy perfect health going forward forevermore. I can only use one of these in a lifetime. Without your support, I’d have been toast, believe me. It was touch and go as it was.
Barney is now resting comfortably, as they say. He’s sporting a three-inch incision on his tummy. It’s a doozy. As of this writing on Saturday night, I’ll spare you the visual.
And I also want to offer devout gratitude to whatever divine providence that stayed by our side through the whole process. Heaven alone knows how all the breaks cut in our favor. At every crucial step, cat-astrophe was averted.
Avert The First: Driving on the freeway at 4:30 a.m. on New Year’s, Wednesday morning in the dark. No collisions with other persons on the road at 4:30 a.m. on New Year’s. I kept prying my bloodless fingers from the wheel and trying to breathe, trying not to imagine what the drivers behind those headlights had been up to for the last twelve hours. What had I been up to for the last twelve hours? Partying with a mop and bucket. Plus, in the latter half-hour, with Barney in the car crying in his carrier and tearing my heart out. Plus, I need to re-emphasize that it was 4:30 a.m. on New Year’s. But. No accident.
Avert The Second: The diagnosis fork-in-the-road. Would my budget be able to stand the full battery of tests the emergency vet wanted to run? Or would lack of money mean that we would have to skip the diagnostics, treat the symptoms only, and keep our paws and fingers crossed that they’d simply go away?
I need to emphasize at this point – hissing – that this clinic required payment up front, or no treatment.
I am eternally grateful I was able to pay for the full battery. The X-rays told the whole story. Here is the offending “Foreign Body,” as Barney’s medical records call it. I.e., a piece of Da Bird cat-toy. Next to my old cellphone to show scale.
Barney, you are adorable but you are also a very silly boy.
Consider what would have happened if we had let more time go by with this piece of Da Bird stuck in Barney’s small intestine. Strangulation would advance, tissue would die, and the eventual surgery – which in any case could not have been avoided – would have been complicated by advanced infection. Just as it was, after only 12-24 hours, Barney had a temp of 104, two degrees elevated from normal. Plus he was dehydrated from all that vomiting. This means his blood was starting to thicken, if I’ve understood the situation right.
Let’s pause to contemplate those unhappy souls who find themselves unable to pay up front. Because this clinic will not treat without payment up front. And, on a holiday, this clinic is pretty much all she wrote in this area (unless you happen to know of another clinic that does take emergencies of which clinic, at the time, I did not know; now I do know and I hear they are more compassionate).
I simply cannot imagine being unable to pay and, for that reason alone, being turned away with an animal who would die without treatment. That is just brutality in the name of lucre. That is just not acceptable in a civilized society.
Avert The Third: Because my house is so small and I am home so much, I am pretty much aware, most of the time, of most of what the cats get up to and into. So I became aware that Barney had vomited around eight times in twelve hours. This was obviously not right.
Here are both boys, early in the afternoon as Barney’s condition was progressing. Both boys are unusually subdued, as you can see.
Avert The Fourth. Before I start to vent here, I want to express my gratitude to the emergency people. They were as kind and professional as they could be under the circumstances. And Barney is recovering. All good.
But. Now. The “circumstances.”
Thanks to the muscle I believe regular vets have exerted around here, they have made it so anytime they are open, this emergency clinic has to close.
Just think what this could have meant, if I had driven Barney to emergency on a regular Wednesday morning. Barney would have been operated on at around 6:30. Shortly thereafter, I – I, people, me, all alone by myself, just minutes post-surgery – would have had to transport Barney to his regular vet. Then Barney would spend the day under observation at the regular vet. When that vet closed at 6:00, then I, I all alone, would have had to transport Barney back to the emergency clinic for observation during the night. And then repeat, d.c. al fine, until Barney would be discharged into my care.
All this to-and-fro shlepping done in the winter, of course, and, so far, in an unusually severe winter. We’re iced-in again, as I write on Sunday morning. My friend just called to tell me we’re in a “polar vortex.” It’s going down to 1 degree F. tonight.
Pray the power stays on.
And picture what this to-and-fro shlepping would have been like if Barney had had a less-clear condition that posed diagnostic problems. I can imagine one surgery, whoops sorry wrong condition – and you fill in the blanks with that one. Now that I’m talking to friends about this, I have heard stories about this kind of thing happening. Ending with a trip to and from Kansas City or Oklahoma City – also on icy roads – for the right treatment.
Again, forgive me if I simply cannot grasp how the vets or whoever is responsible can have pulled off this very bad deal. The emergency people explained that the regular vets have a hard time meeting their costs. I am sympathetic but I’m sorry. Forcing the repeated transport of injured and ill animals, by distraught guardians, seems to me, again, like brutality in the name of lucre. Not acceptable in a civilized society.
But in our case, Avert The Fourth meant that the budget could stand the (staggering) stress, Barney’s diagnosis was straightforward, surgery was uncomplicated, and, because all this happened on New Year’s, Barney was able to rest post-surgery for one day and one more night, before I had to shlep him to the regular vet. In the dark at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday. On icy roads.
Thank goodness Barney was dopey because of the IV pain meds he’d received and that Thursday-morning trip was uneventful. Despite icy roads in the dark. Also again good news that he pooped on the journey; he’d eaten a little solid food and the system was moving. Well, good news for Barney and me. Not so for the regular-vet techs who had to swab out.
Avert The Fifth: Bugsy’s vomiting appears to have been a temporary anxiety thing. Poor little guy. That terrible New Year’s Day, after a sleepless night, on my return home while Barney was still in surgery and the outcome still unknown, Bugs was glued to the front window. When I came in the door, he was all “where have you been what the hell is going on here and what, pray tell, have you done with my pal Barney.” This carry-on continued for quite some time before I could hardly get in the door. Once I was in, he ran into the kitchen and continued the carry-on.
I misinterpreted this as hunger, so I fed him. At which point he threw up.
But contrast this behavior with the next day, after Barney had come through and I returned home from transporting him from the emergency clinic to the regular vet. Bugs was up on Top Shelf chill-axing. “Oh hi mom where’s breakfast.” And it stayed down no problem.
So – Bugs is fine now. Actually he loves Barney’s prescription food, more than Barney does as a matter of fact.
So back to the real patient. Thursday evening Barney was doing well enough for me to collect him from the regular vet and bring him to Blessed Home, where we all have been ever since.
Here is a shot taken yesterday, Saturday, just after I administered his pain meds. Peace, man.
In fact – thanks and all obeisance and praise to Vetericyn – his incision is so much better, I think it’s suitable for family viewing at this point.
Given that the whole house is set up for running and jumping, Barney and I are now camped in, trying to run our lives from Base Camp. This will be necessary for the duration, which is until Barney gets his staples out, which, I’m told, will be one more week.
So we’re sharing a 10-by-10 space with all the charm and appeal of a cross between prison and the Lower East Side tenements. With litter box.
With Bugs going “I want in, I want out, what is this towel you put up over the louvre on the door, to keep me from complaining and waking you up at all hours? that’ll have to go, and right now too, I want in, out, in, what are you doing in there oh nothing I see therefore I want out.” Repeat d.c. al fine.
Here’s the boys just after they played a little together this morning. Bugsy is on his way to inspect the rest of the premises. To find them totally wanting, naturally. And then to want out. Until he wants in again.
I want to write more about the Foreign Body and how mad I am at Da Bird. But right now Bugs is caterwauling at me out there and I better go minister to something. Thank goodness Downton Abbey resumes tonight. Assuming the power stays on. Where is Anna when she is needed? Married to Bates, that’s where, and frankly she’s wasted on him. What’s the world coming to, as Cousin Violet would sniff.